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Submissions/Wikipedia Visiting Scholars

From Wikimania

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2017.

Submission no. 6011 Subject - EO
Title of the submission

Wikipedia Visiting Scholars: Developing a Model for Educational Institutions and Associations to Support Editing

Type of submission (lecture, panel, tutorial/workshop, roundtable discussion, lightning talk, poster, birds of a feather discussion)


Author of the submission
Language of presentation


E-mail address
  • rhododendrites@gmail.com
  • Rhododendrites
  • Bluerasberry
  • JenOttawa
  • Uncommon fritillary
  • Jackiekoerner
Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
  • Rhododendrites - Wiki Education Foundation
  • Bluerasberry - Consumer Reports
  • JenOttawa - Cochrane
  • Uncommon fritillary - Smithsonian Libraries
  • Jackiekoerner - Paul K. Longmore Center on Disability
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (up to 300 words to describe your proposal)

The Wikipedia Visiting Scholars program launched in 2013 to form connections between Wikipedians and libraries. In the original model, editors receive remote access to paywalled resources they then use to improve articles in a topic area of mutual interest.

The program has been successful, but there are challenges to program scaling:

  • Not all institutions with paywalled resources can grant remote access for such a position, and the processes involved vary, often requiring considerable time and/or involvement of multiple staff.
  • Some potential non-library sponsors have missions compatible with Visiting Scholars but do not have paywalled resources to provide. They may instead offer expertise, professional development, or other engagement.
  • It is not guaranteed that there will be Wikipedians interested in a sponsor's proposed topic area, and editors' need for access to resources is not uniform across fields.
  • Misunderstanding about the metaphorical nature of "Visiting".
  • Confusion of Visiting Scholars with other programs, like Education Program Ambassadors or Wikipedians-in-Residence.

Some of these challenges can be addressed by continuing to improve communication, but they also pose questions for the model itself.

In an alternative Visiting Scholars model, sponsoring institutions arrange to train new Wikipedians. Two organizations currently participating in such a project are Cochrane Global Ageing and the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM). Both found enthusiasm in their membership for improving their subject area's articles on Wikipedia and entered into partnerships to train a small number of new editors.

Questions for roundtable discussion:

  • When an organization/institution wants to improve Wikipedia's coverage of a topic area, what programmatic models are available to them?
  • How can the Visiting Scholars program be more clearly defined and communicated?
  • Is there need to separate the original and alternative Visiting Scholars models?
  • What conflict of interest concerns should be considered? How does travel reimbursement or a stipend change this?
What will attendees take away from this session?

Attendees will:

  • Understand the Wikipedia Visiting Scholars program in its current form.
  • Appreciate the challenges the current form poses.
  • Understand the alternative program model and how it differs from the original model.
  • Engage in discussion to address questions and needs of the Wikipedia Visiting Scholars program, and participate in the process of finding solutions.
  • Contribute lessons and ideas from their own experiences. The conversation would benefit from people involved in GLAM partnerships, the Education Program, the Wikipedia community, and any others interested in fostering connections between Wikipedia and outside entities.
  • Learn about ways they can get involved with and benefit from the program, either as Wikipedian or potential sponsor.
Theme of presentation
  • GLAM
  • Education
For workshops and discussions, what level is the intended audience?


Length of session (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)

55 minutes requested (flexible)

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
  • Yes
Slides or further information (optional)

Jennifer Dawson, JenOttawa (talk) 20:11, 12 August 2017 (UTC) Cochrane Visiting Scholar Slides[reply]

Special requests
Is this Submission a Draft or Final?

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with a hash and four tildes. (# ~~~~).

  1. Debaser42 (talk) 14:44, 30 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 14:54, 30 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  3. GastelEtzwane (talk) 12:50, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Saguaromelee (talk) 13:24, 12 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  5. VMasrour (WMF) (talk) 14:43, 18 May 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Doc James (talk) 13:22, 9 June 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Rosiestep (talk) 16:19, 5 August 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Góngora (talk) 15:17, 12 August 2017 (UTC)[reply]